Generic Coastal Defences for D-Day
My project to recreate amphibious operations in NW Europe continues. Having modelled some landing craft (see my photos in the gallery section) I have now moved onto the defences required for a beach landing. While I have Walcheran and Dieppe scenarios in the pipeline I thought I would start with a straight forward scenario but where possible model generic beach defences that can be reused in other games. Armed with Colin Rumford's excellent D-Day supplement I did a quick scan through the scenarios and decided to start with Scenario 5 - The Canadians at Juno. (In particular I chose to replay the right hand action at Courselles-sur-mer). The forces are relatively small, the landing craft I already have and the map was interesting. There are two "groups" of defences in this game. WN 29 which has 88mm in a casemate, an observation bunker, a mortar in an open tobruk, and a MG tobruk / casemate. WN 31 (the one I will start with) has a 50mm in a casemate, MG tobruk /casemate, a 50mm fortress gun in an open emplacement, and a mortar open tobruk. Although Colin makes mini-dioramas of these emplacements I have kept them as separate elements that can be grouped together in different combinations for different games.
A shot of my version of WN 31 at Juno Beach - June 6th 1944
(ignore the small pillbox as it somehow got into the photo !)
Gun in a casemate - I used a section from some packing for a Christmas present and cut to suit.
A card wall on the seaward side provides protection. This "left-hand" model will be duplicated with a "right-hand" model for WN 29
An overhead view of the casemate - in this case I have used an 88mm gun as per WN 29 but a 50mm will be required for WN31. The base has been built up with putty and coated with PVA and sand. Tamiya Dark Yellow was used as the base colour for the sand and then dry brushed with Tamiya Buff. Areas of static grass were glued randomly around the base. The casemate itself was painted matt black and wet brushed with Games Workshop Fortress Grey. The overall effect is quite good.
The mortar tobruk was fiddly as I did not have any suitable foam sheet available. The walls are made from thick cardboard coated with putty. Similar painting techniques to the casemate above. I was hoping for something close to the commercial ones in Colin's book but didn't quite pull it off. I will have another go at this one for WN 29.
The open emplacement was much easier to make. Irrigation pipe (I live in a farming area) cut about 15-20mm high was used with the same basing technique. This one was much quicker to make and looked better. The fortress gun is made using a Airfix 6pdr barrel and a plastic bread tie for a shield. While not entirely accurate it is suggestive of the actual weapon. The crew are SHQ germans.
Overhead view of the open emplacement
overhead view of mortar tobruk
A simple trench for the "spare" figures. Iceblock sticks form the sides and matches the supports. The height of the wall was a bit low and on the next one I hope to make it a bit higher. I have deliberately left enough room for half a company as this may well be a prototype for prepared defences for my land games.
Overhead view of trenches